Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Diverse, Tolerant, Open - We Don't Want Pegida

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Diverse, Tolerant, Open - We Don't Want Pegida

Article excerpt

Byline: Craig Thompson Reporter PEGIDA protesters were today told: "You are not welcome in our city".

at was the message just 24 hours before the "anti-islam" protesters arrive in Newcastle.

Under the banner of Patriotic Europeans against the Islamisation of the West' Pegida supporters will be taking to Tyneside amid claims they are trying to defend countries from the spread of extremism at the hands of Muslim immigrants.

Tomorrow will be the rst UK demonstration by its British branch.

A counter-demonstration, now expected to attract in excess of 2,000, will simultaneously march through the city in protest.

it was organised by Newcastle Unites, and is also aiming to attract a string of high prole speakers including George Galloway MP.

Police said they were fully prepared to cope with the extra in!ux of people into the city centre just hours before Newcastle United kick o their home match against Aston Villa.

Today, opponents to Pegida made one nal rallying call.

David Stockdale, councillor for Blakelaw, said: "Newcastle is a friendly, tolerant and inclusive city of sanctuary. We thrive on the diversity of our communities which make our city one of the truly great cities of the world.

"We have a proud history of standing up to intolerance and hate and to groups like Pegida who seek to do harm to our Muslim sisters and brothers.

"Pegida paint a brutal misrepresentation of Islam. It's important to stand up to that and for me as a non-Muslim it's important to speak out against Pegida's twisted prejudice."

Pegida started in Germany but has reportedly launched a number of other European o-shoots in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris.

Lord Jeremy Beecham, former leader of Newcastle City Council, said: "is city has a deserved reputation for welcoming people and for good relations between the communities which enrich its life.

"It has welcomed the contribution made by people from a variety of cul-tures across a range of activities, from the NHS to St James' Park. Pegida is an extreme right wing movement driven by hatred of Muslims, on whom they have focussed their resentment for problems they perceive in Germany.

"Their Islamophobia is totally unacceptable, and it's difficult to understand why Newcastle has been singled out for their malign attention. I hope the people of this city will unite to reject the message of division which they seek to bring to our streets."

David Kelly, 33, from Newcastle, will be part of the counter-demo. He said: "We don't want these people in our city. They don't belong here. We are a friendly, tolerant and welcoming place."

Pegida claim to have chosen Newcastle having a following in the city.

But Chi Onwurah, MP for Newcastle Central, said: "We are a city diverse communities and shared values where we both respect and look out for each other. We have history of facing hard times together and growing stronger.

"People coming from outside to spread a message of division and hatred are not welcome. Pegida targeting Muslims in our community and we have to stand up and say it wrong, Islamaphobia wrong, anti semitism wrong, all racism is wrong, we can do better than this, we have done better than this when we saw off the National Front and the BNP.

"The idea that there might be children in Newcastle who feel unwelcome or unappreciated because of the religion they practise I find absolutely obscene. That is why I'll be there."

of " Police have had talks with both groups and say they are satisfied they will pass "peacefully". …

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